Plus a Chart on the Pros & Cons of Financing Furniture
If you are on the hunt for home or office furniture, it is beneficial to narrow down your options before you start seriously searching. First: determine your style. What look are you going for in your home or business? There are many style guides to give you examples of all the options if you have not already decided. Vintage, leather, sleek, modern, cottage, art deco… the choices are plentiful so having some inspiration before you shop will help to keep you focused.
- Reupholster or Refinish
In the spirit of sustainability, the number one question you might initially ask is: do I actually need NEW furniture? What about a face-lift instead by refinishing or reupholstering? And if you want to save even more cash, there are plenty of how-to videos and tutorials to DIY. Another resource to tap are home improvement stores that often provide free workshops and are happy to offer advice. Combine your upgraded furniture with new accents, such as pillows, lamps, and rugs to make a vast difference in your decor while saving money all the while.
- Estate, Yard, & Moving Sales
These are excellent places to find very high quality furniture at low prices as people are extremely motivated to sell and will take much less than an item is probably worth. It’s easy to find these listings all over social media and your local Neighborhood links, Cragislists, and the like.
- Thrift Stores & Consignment Shops
Because all items in thrift stores come from donations, the quality may not be as pristine as other options, BUT that is not always true. Time and again people find absolute treasures in thrift stores. Some high end donors are just not into selling, don’t want to take the time, or simply want to contribute to the charity that the thrift store may be supporting. So don’t pass these options. While consignment and second hand shops are there to make both parties a profit so many of their pieces will tend to be in good condition. You will absolutely still be able to find a bargain compared to the same piece from a retailer.
- Shop Wholesale or Direct
Go to the manufacturer’s website. By deleting the middleman you can easily save a ton of cash on your next piece of large furniture. And wholesalers turn over their inventory frequently so if you don’t find what you want on the first stop be sure to check back in frequently.
- Discount Stores
Every state in the U.S. has shopping areas with furniture clearance centers that sell name-brand furniture at big discounts. These may be floor models or have slight scratches and dents. If you’re willing to compromise a bit this is another great way to save money when searching for new furniture.
Have you heard of Freecycle.org? It’s a nonprofit online forum offering free items to anyone. The goal is to keep items out of landfills! Another similar online outlet is Craigslist which is mostly a place for selling items but there is also a category for free listings. To up the chance that you find some higher quality furniture, look at listings in higher income cities.
Sometimes the unfortunate reality for some turns into opportunities for others. Finding a business that is clearing out inventory and before the doors permanently close can result in huge savings for you. If possible, wait until the final weeks to shop.
- Special Promotions
Retailers are in the business of selling and regularly offer big sales and promotions to this end, usually around holidays such as President’s Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and of course the Christmas holidays.
Some people call it haggling and in many places it is actually an expected custom, but don’t be afraid to ask for a better price than what’s advertised. Nothing is set in stone, and the markups are high enough that owners can still make a profit even on a lower price.
- Price Match
Find a piece you fell in-love with? Do a quick search and find out if the store offers price matching for similar or identical products. Check around with competing stores for a lower price to present to the seller.
Chart on the Pros & Cons of Financing Furniture
|Furniture Financing Option||What It Is||Pros||Cons|
|Paying cash||Existing savings are used to cover the full cost of the furniture.||● Eliminates the need to take on debt. ● Keeps the total cost to a minimum.||● Can take a long time to save enough. ● Not a viable option for everyone.|
|In-store financing||Qualified customers can finance furniture purchases for 0% APR for a set amount of time. Offers may come with a minimum purchase amount requirement.||● Get the furniture as soon as you qualify for in-store financing. ● Pay no interest if you pay it off before the promotional APR expires.||● May be on the hook for back- interest if you don’t pay off the balance by the end of the promo. ● Rates after the promotion expires can be as high as — or, in some cases, higher than — some credit cards. ● Requires credit history to qualify.|
|Credit card||The cost of the purchase is put on a credit card, and monthly payments are made on the balance. You can use an existing credit card, if you have one, or apply for a new one, which will impact your credit score.||● Doesn’t rely on current savings. ● Those who can pay off the balance before their next statement essentially gets a short-term, interest-free loan.||● Costs extra if you don’t pay off the balance before your next statement. ● APRs can range up to 25% or higher, depending on the card.|
|Personal loan||A typically unsecured loan that can be used to finance a wide variety of purchases.||● Some lenders can provide funds as soon as the same day that you apply. ● Sticking to your payment schedule can help you improve your credit.||● Increases your total costs, as compared to paying in cash. ● Qualification relies on credit, making it difficult to get good rates (or qualify) if you have poor credit.|
|Secured loan||A loan that requires you to put up collateral.||● Easier to qualify for than a personal loan. ● Can enable those who qualify to fund their entire furniture purchase.||● Missing a payment could mean losing your collateral. ● Since it’s a loan, you’ll still pay extra in interest on top of the cost of the furniture.|
|Payday alternative loan||A safer, more borrower-friendly alternative to payday loans, provided by credit unions.||● Comparatively longer repayment terms make it easier to get out of debt. ● Rates aren’t as high as you would get with a payday loan.||● Requires you to be a credit union member, sometimes for a month or longer. ● Caps the maximum borrowing amount at $1,000 or less.|
|Payday advance||These allow you to take money from a future paycheck and usually do not rely on credit to qualify.||● Can help you bridge the gap between costs and savings, oftentimes interest-free. ● Doesn’t require you to have good credit.||● Can be extremely limited in terms of how much you can advance. ● Takes money away from a future paycheck.|
|Payday loan||Short-term, high-interest loans that usually aren’t credit dependent. Their terms often max out at two weeks.||● Extremely low bar for qualification. ● Provides access to fast financing with a short repayment term.||● Often comes with interest rates in the triple digits. ● Can leave borrowers trapped in a debt cycle.|
High-End Reduced Price Furniture in the Bay Area
The Local Flea is a consignment store where used furniture (and more!) goes to get a second life. More than a consignment store, items sold at The Local Flea are inspected and listed for sale online as well as in the actual store. Every purchase contributes to a mission of sustainability. This is only a partial a range of furniture items offered:
- File Cabinets
- Sofa Beds
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